July has always been a special month for me. It’s the month that America honors our independence on the 4th. It also happens to be the month of my birth. Years ago, I didn’t need much incentive to celebrate my birthday all month long – I called it my Birth Month, and that in and of itself was enough reason to commemorate another year alive. The ramp up to Birth Month was slow, but steady.
First, it was simply reveling on my birthday, followed by the cramming of copious amounts of partying into my birth week. Bringing up the rear was turning the entire month of July into an all-out freak-out-fest.
This year, I turned 52 years old. Gone are the days of power boozing, dancing until the sun comes up, plopping down into a booth in IHOP at 5:30 in the morning and devouring an entire stack of Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancakes (and using my fork to stab the hand of the unfortunate soul who dared to try and steal a bite). No, I have matured. Instead of all of that ‘party till you drop’ nonsense, I simply jump in the car, head for the hills and go winery/vineyard hopping. [It might be worth mentioning here that my husband, my non-alcohol-swigging-built-in-designated-driver, does the driving during my wine-centric day of celebration.]
As in years past, this year was no exception. Having recently moved to North Carolina, we decided to see what the Carolina Yadkin Valley had to offer in terms of vino. On our trek through the region, we passed first one sign then another touting F.R.O.G. jam.
F.R.O.G. jam. What in tarnation is F.R.O.G. jam?
As a creative writer, my imagination tends to lean towards the imaginative and ridiculous. I, however, apparently am not alone in the ludicrous thinking department. My husband’s curiosity was piqued, as was mine and, together, we began to visualize what this mysterious F.R.O.G. jam could possibly be. Subsequently, as most insane people will do, we began to rationalize our collective stab in the dark.
These were our thoughts:
We live in the south. There’s a lot of untoward things that are rumored to take place in the south. Southerners eat all sorts of, uh, inventive and peculiar foods—some good, some bad. Boiled peanuts. Chitlins. Grits. Pigs feet. Chicken feet. (I’m not speaking from pure speculation; I’m a child of the south and, yes, I’ve tried all of these.)
So as we were being uber speculative, we had an open discussion on F.R.O.G. jam.
ME: Whaddaya think’s in it?
HUBBY: I dunno…frogs?
ME: I think they mash ‘em up and make jam out of ‘em.
ME: I know.
HUBBY: Ewwww…legs and stuff.
ME: Yeah, frog bits. It makes sense. Why else would they call it FROG jam?
So we had a good laugh about it on the way to the wineries, and on the way back home (after visiting four wineries and indulging in four different wine tastings) I laughed so much I was snorting like a pig every time I saw a “F.R.O.G. jam for sale” sign. It never dawned on us to just Google F.R.O.G. jam.
I did. We were so wrong, I could have eaten my words on Ritz crackers . . . smeared with F.R.O.G. jam.
Fig. Raspberry. Orange. Ginger.
That, my friends, is F.R.O.G. jam. And now it makes sense. No frogs have ever been harmed in the making of F.R.O.G. jam.
A few weeks later, thanks to a trip to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market and North Carolina’s own The Dutch Kettle, we purchased our first jar of F.R.O.G. jam. Whodathunk it would be so damn good?!?
My husband and I are both now big F.R.O.G. jam fans. It’s mighty fine good eatin’. (And conicidenetally, we’re now gaga for T.O.E. jam, too – and, yup, you guessed it: no toes involved; just tangerines, orange and elderberry).
You wanted to know? Now you know.
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